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Min. Order Limits from Vendors?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I've never had a min. order amount for vendors buying wedding cakes. I've never had a wedding cake that wasn't profitable from a vendor, so I never set a min. on them. I have VERY limited design work and cake flavors available to vendors at wholesale pricing.............this has never been an issue, until now.

 

For the first time, I had a wedding cake for only 22 people. Well that definitely works out to be not worth turning on the oven! So I need to install a min. on these cakes too, plus a delivery charge.

 

For those of you that do sell wholesale to vendors what's your min. order amount? AND what is your delivery charge on the small cakes? I don't want a regular repeat client going to someone else for their cakes, nor do I want people to think the bad tasting cake they might buy (because I had too high of a min. charge) came from me.

 

And if they only need a small cake do you still make a top cake for their anniversary? I did this time...just because I was too embarrassed to hand someone a totally plain 10" butter cream cake with only a bottom border as a "wedding cake".

 

TIA

 

P.S. I asked about charging for the top cake (on a different thread months ago.) And I didn't change my pricing then............so I keep screwing myself out of income over those top cakes I don't get paid for..........urg............I'm such a dope!! I keep thinking I'm keeping my customers happy, but they never seem appreciative of the free cake and delivery they get from me.........feeling dumb..........


Edited by Stitches - 11/25/12 at 6:39pm
post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 

Was this too taboo to ask in public? If anyone wants they could respond in private.........I'd be greatful for the input.

post #3 of 27

No, perfectly OK to ask... but other then that I have no answers for you.  I don't sell wholesale to vendors (yet) and I don't give away anniversary tiers or cakes (and never will).  The only giveaway I do is my cake tiers are much taller then average, so really I'm giving away about 1/2" to 1" of cake per person.  I'm OK with that.  I have a minimum, everyone should unless you have a storefront where people get to pick from a case and if it's not in the case it's not for sale.  

 

Best of luck!

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Lately I've been seeing just how much I have to learn! It sucks, but it's coming at a good time before I send out sales materials I can't retract.

 

I guess I need to put myself out there to you all and ask for more help/advise. I've always worked for someone else and I've never had to price my work and deal with customers.

 

So seriously, when you make a wedding cake you DO include the top cake in the count of servings? Do you bring up that topic with the bride when she's ordering..........what do you say? Then who tells the people at the site that they should cut the top cake?

 

I thought everyone gave away the top cake...........sheesh.........

post #5 of 27

It's a regional thing I think - people that live in SF don't have a ton of room, so keeping an 8" cake box in the freezer taking up valuable space doesn't happen so much.  I also deal with destination weddings - as in, people come here to get married - and not every hotel has a fridge to save that top tier for the 3 weeks before they go home, then they have to mess with an airplane etc.  Stuff like that,

 

But even if I did plan on "giving" the top tier away, I wouldn't actually "give" it away - the overall cost would be absorbed into the price per serving of the other tiers.  For example, I retail a serving of cake for $8.  100 servings of cake = $800.  If I was "giving" the top tier away as SOP I'd be retailing at $9 per serving x 89 servings + 12 "free" servings = $800 (close enough).  

 

Hope that makes sense!

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 

Yes, that does make sense. I never thought about destination wedding cakes, no one comes to my area (cold Chicago) as a destination wedding, that's for sure.

 

I really would like to know if it's considered "standard" to give the top cake for free or not! I don't want to be the only one in my area doing that............or not doing it if no one else is. I don't know what else to do but ask here.........at CC. I don't want to waste peoples time calling around pretending to be a bride.........but I guess I don't have any other choice.

 

Technically, I can call around and find out retail pricing on wedding cakes, but there isn't a way for me to actually know what the average wholesale price is in my market. It's hard to compete if you don't know what your competitors are doing. I guess I keep learning from the school of hard knocks.

post #7 of 27

I charge for every single serving of cake. However, I offer a free 4" anniversary cake for them (fresh made). It's nothing for me to bake a 4" round from whatever orders I already have on any given weekend. It takes me 5 minutes to ruffle tip decorate it, and box it up. Beauty of the whole thing is....I hardly ever get the call a year later. ;)

post #8 of 27

I never offer the top layer for free. But I definitely ask when we are discussing serving sizes and how many servings will be needed for the wedding. I usually just say something like, "So will you be serving the top tier or saving it?". Super easy, and then based on their answer I either include or exclude the number of servings from the top tier in the total number of servings. If they want to save it I just bring a box for the top tier when I set up the cake at the venue.

post #9 of 27
I used to give it away, but now I charge for it, because I was resenting giving it away like that, once I figured in the cost and value of it. There are other bakeries around here that do it, but I don't really care, most of them are more expensive than me, and brides pick the cake they want, for the most part, whether the top tier is free or not.
Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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Beginners, be sure to parrot advice and get your post count up as fast as you can. After all, it's not what you know, it's what people THINK you know.
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post #10 of 27

I don't give the top tier away either.  I ask the couple how many servings they need (based on guest count) and then I ask if they want to save the top tier or not.  Either way they pay for the severings.

 

For an easy math example...

If a customer is expecting 100 guests and doesn't want to save the top tier I would make them a 12" round, 10" round and 6" round (104 servings according to Wilton, but I would charge for 100 because I always round down).

If a customer is expecting 100 guests and wants to save the top tier I would make a 14" round, 8" round and 6" round (114 servings according to Wilton, but I would charge for 110 because I always round down).  I then point out that the contract will have 110 servings listed, instead of 100, because even though they are not planning on serving the top tier they still have to pay for the servings since it is still work on my end.

 

No one has ever said anything about paying for the top tier.  No one expects any of their cake to be free.

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cai0311 View Post

I don't give the top tier away either.  No one expects any of their cake to be free.

HA, that's the difference with Vendors verses retail dealing with brides.

 

O.k. so I see two options here (tell me if you see more)

 

1. I ask the Vendor if they want to order an extra top cake to send home with the bride. (Let them ask me "what" so I can explain cakes aren't free)

2. I can use the top cake as a negotiating tool with those vendors who think everything should be negotiated.

 

I'm re-writing my brochure to get away from per person pricing. I always get robbed by them over this issue! I'm going to need some advice on cake sizing/how manu portions you all get. I'm really scared that these two issues will stop vendors from switching to me.

post #12 of 27

I think I am confused.  What vendors are ordering cakes, and why?  Do you mean a venue in your area is subletting work to you?  Or an event coordinator?  Or something else?

 

I am not sure how you get robbed by vendors when you price per serving.  I would that would be a more straight forward options.  You have 100 guests = this exact price.  A three tier cake can feed 74 (based off Wilton 10, 8, 6 round) - 234 (based off Wilton 16, 14, 12 round).  Now, while I think a three tier cake that feeds 234 would look unproportionate and ugly, selling based off size (number of tiers only) could allow a vendor to order a cake that feeds 234 for the same price as a cake that feeds 74.

 

Industry standard pricing is per slice. Veering from this may chase vendors away from ordering.

 

Whatever you pick, just make sure it is clear and simple for the client (vendor) to follow or they will give up and go else where.

"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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"who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?"
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post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 View Post

I am not sure how you get robbed by vendors when you price per serving.  I would that would be a more straight forward options.  You have 100 guests = this exact price.  A three tier cake can feed 74 (based off Wilton 10, 8, 6 round) - 234 (based off Wilton 16, 14, 12 round).  Now, while I think a three tier cake that feeds 234 would look unproportionate and ugly, selling based off size (number of tiers only) could allow a vendor to order a cake that feeds 234 for the same price as a cake that feeds 74.

 

 

It's easiest for me to give you a link to another thread I had about this issue, then to re-write what's been happening. Please read here: http://cakecentral.com/t/750423/wholesale-wedding-cake-pricing

 

I'm selling to Chefs at Country Clubs right now (mainly because that's what I'm familiar with). But I need to go out and solicit hotels, party planners, reception halls, the rest of the world, etc...

 

So the Chefs complain if your not generous with your servings (in case they screw up cutting they don't want things to be tight). When you sell per person, it's not like they call me and say "hey we've got an extra 9 people, add those 9 servings on to our bill", no instead they just know to cut the slices smaller. Or rely on the fact that I'm not tight with my servings because they ***** about it if I am. I can't win..........


Edited by Stitches - 11/29/12 at 8:47pm
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 

1000

This is my cake sizing chart I use for my reference. I have to admit, I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you all how many servings I'm getting out of each cake (so I hid my servings count for each cake)........because I am more generous then Wilton or Earlene's cake charts.Which I NOW realize has not been a good idea!! But, I do think the Wilton Chart is too small. No one accounts for the number of servings ruined because a dowel was there.

 

Would anyone consider sharing with me how many portions they're selling out of each cake when not using the Wilton Chart (AND include the top cake count, which I never did)?


Edited by Stitches - 11/29/12 at 8:51pm
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

This is my cake sizing chart I use for my reference. I have to admit, I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you all how many servings I'm getting out of each cake (so I hid my servings count for each cake)........because I am more generous [than] Wilton or Earlene's cake charts.Which I NOW realize has not been a good idea!! But, I do think the Wilton Chart is too small. No one accounts for the number of servings ruined because a dowel was there.

 

Would anyone consider sharing with me how many portions they're selling out of each cake when not using the Wilton Chart (AND include the top cake count, which I never did)?

icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif Earlene's chart is very generous as it is, what are you, the cake fairy? Or Santa Cake? Seriously, you need to step back and decide if you want to make money out of this venture or if you want to become a cake charity. Once you decide you want to run a business, you need to put on your business person panties/boxers and act accordingly. I can promise you those chefs are not undermining their profits with regards to their work.

 

My suggestions:

1. Wilton's is the industry standard, especially when you're dealing with professionals/event caterers, use it. They should KNOW how to serve a cake. If not, include a cutting guide.

 

2. The client/Vendor pays for every serving of cake, whether they plan to keep the top tier is up to them. If you're feeling generous, offer them a small tier in the future like AZCouture suggested. For one thing, it's a way to get them to come back and order again.

 

3. For minimums, you need to decide how much is worth turning on your oven for. Most I've seen have minimums around $150.00. I learned this the hard way some weeks ago when I did a 2-tier 17 serving cake and priced per serving. Just as much work as any 2 tier cake but I short-changed myself big time. I now have a minimum for tiered cakes.

4. As an incentive, you could offer free delivery with orders that meet your minimum. Anything less, and there's a delivery charge. Just a way to make it worth your while.

 

Good luck.

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